God does not act or move without purpose. His words are not spoken in vain. Therefore, one can assume that God moved with purpose in the creation of Heaven. So far, Heaven has been seen as the fullest manifestation of God’s grace and blessing and the place where God has revealed that He has set His throne. It is the “dwelling” place of God that reaches beyond human imagination and expectation. And yet, one begs to ask the question, why did God need to create a Heaven for Himself? Since God is spirit and not confined to one place, like man, why did He choose to create such an existence?

Jonathan Edwards has suggested that in order to see the importance and purpose of Heaven, one must look at the despondency of Hell as well. He says that if God’s greatest end is to manifest His glory for all of creation to see, than Heaven is by far the pinnacle of that achievement. He ponders where else could God’s glory be more marvelous and resplendent than there? Edwards states that while Hell is aware of God’s glory, it is more indirect and “strange”. Hell is and will be used by the saints in Heaven to give God even more glory as they probe what a gracious and awesome God He is. Heaven, says Edwards, will be where God’s true glory is realized in and by the occupants thereof. The purpose therefore, of Heaven is that there can be no greater display of glory, there can be no higher end than to marvel at it.[1]

One can also view the purpose of Heaven as the consummation of Kingdom living. When Jesus announced the Kingdom, He announced a way of living radical and revolutionary to the order of the world. This Kingdom life, which is most fully realized in Heaven among God, turned out to be a direct contradiction to the customs and institutions of man.[2] Jesus’ first words as He began His ministry stressed the immediacy and uniqueness of Heaven. Matthew 4:17 records Jesus saying, “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.” As stated early, the Kingdom of Heaven was at the forefront of Jesus’ ministry, thought and actions. Bringing people into Kingdom living was His greatest concern for His ministry. The reader gets a brief, yet appetizing, glimpse into life within the Kingdom just a few verses later as Jesus preaches the Sermon on the Mount. The Sermon on the Mount paints a picture so radically different from the way things were and are that its message continues to shock its hearers. The sermon was a primer on what Heaven will be like and what the occupants can expect and hope for. The sermon was the groundwork and basis for not only the rest of the teachings of the New Testament but it was also the elaboration of and perfection what Christ called His “new commandment”.[3] This commandment was of course that believers love God and each other even as Christ has loved them. The sermon can be seen as a grand elaboration of the purpose of Heaven, namely reveling in and displaying God’s love and glory.[4]

A third reason why Heaven exists is as a reward for those who faithfully follow God during life on Earth. Perhaps a better way of explaining this purpose would be to say that in Heaven, God is most clearly understood and communicates the clearest. The puritan pastor and theologian, Robert Bolton, in contemplating why God would create Heaven when it was clearly not needed remarked:

God was therefore a heaven to Himself (before creation). But when he pleased, he created the world, that in so large and goodly a theatre he might declare and convey his power, goodness, and bounty, some way or other, to all creatures. Especially, he prepared this glorious heaven we speak of, not that it might enclose or enlarge his happiness, but that he might unspeakably beautify and irradiate it with the inconceivable splendor of his majesty and glory, and so communicate himself beatifically to all the elect, saints and angels, even for ever and ever.[5]

Bolton also remarks that no natural knowledge of such a place as Heaven could be unearthed by human arts, reason or logic. Instead, all the knowledge that has been revealed is divine in origination and is meant to assure the believer of eternal happiness, in spite of present circumstances, and that God will be present with those whom He loves.[6] Revelation 21 describes the place that God has prepared for His believers. Verses two through four speak that God has built and created Heaven so that God’s people will most fully know Him and He will most fully know them. All that was known of life will pass away, only to be replaced by the ways of Heaven. The life God intended will become the life lived out. God will be heard and understood clearly and the occupants of Heaven will live to do His will perfectly.

In summary, the purpose and creation of Heaven revolves around three ideas. First, Heaven will be the consummation and pinnacle of God’s glory revealed. Secondly, it will be where the life and ministry of Jesus will be fully realized. The ethics and principles of the Kingdom of God will become the norm and man will be changed to do God’s will, not his own. Finally, Heaven is where God will speak and communicate with His people and they will understand without any hesitation or hindrance. Not only will they understand, but they will purposefully live to enact and do His will.

[1] John Gerstner. Jonathan Edwards on Heaven and Hell. (Morgan: Soli Deo Gloria Pub., 1998), 41. The paragraph above is a summary of Edwards’ view on why a believer must realize that God’s glory is displayed by looking at both Heaven and Hell and then seeing the awesome wonder of Heaven as the crown jewel of God’s glory.

[2] Ulrich Simon. Heaven in the Christian Tradition. (New York: Harper, 1958), 177.

[3] D. Martin Lloyd-Jones. Studies in the Sermon on the Mount. (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1971), 15.

[4] Ibid. 16.

[5] Robert Bolton. The Four Last Things: Death, Judgment, Hell and Heaven. (Pittsburgh: Soli Deo Gloria Publications, 1994), 96-97.

[6] Ibid. 98-99.